Manchester City vs Manchester United: Police alert to prospect of drones flying over the Etihad

Greater Manchester Police will have a helicopter on hand

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The Independent Football

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are believed to be on red alert to the prospect of remote-controlled drones flying overhead at the Manchester derby.

A drone carrying a provocative message sparked violence on the pitch between Albania and Serbia, causing the Euro 2016 qualifier to be abandoned earlier this month.

There has already been one instance of a drone at the Etihad this season, when a man was arrested after being found controlling one from a supermarket adjacent to the stadium during Manchester City's 4-1 win over Tottenham on 18 October.

According to the Daily Mail, GMP will have a helicopter on hand during City's meeting with bitter rivals Manchester United to combat the potential presence of drones.

Rio Ferdinand was hit by a coin during the Manchester derby in December 2012

The force will arrest anyone found to be controlling a drone and instruct them to land it immediately; around 400 officers will be employed for the game.

"We are well used to policing high-profile fixtures like this. I would urge fans to come to the game, enjoy the day and arrive well in time for the kick-off because of the building work going on around the ground," Superintendent Craig Thompson told the Mail.

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"They will see plenty of police officers on the ground who are there to ensure their safety. If there is any trouble or disorder, we will deal with it robustly."